Despite broad improvements in health over the past several decades, maternal mortality and perinatal mortality – stillbirths and deaths of newborns during the first week of life – remain great challenges in Kenya. On average, the wealthiest women in Kenya are four times more likely to deliver in a health facility with the help of a skilled birth attendant than the poorest women. In addition, Kenya loses about 21 women every day and 34,000 newborns every year to treatable complications during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. Quality health care could save the majority of women who die due to childbirth complications.
In partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), GHS is leveraging strategic communications and advocacy to ensure that perinatal health is recognized and acted upon as a core health and development priority, in line with Kenya’s Universal Health Coverage vision. Most recently, GHS partnered with the Ministry of Health in Kenya to launch a country-wide digital campaign using Mother’s Day as an opportunity to promote the health of mothers and babies. The #SafeMotherhoodKenya campaign aimed to create awareness around the state of maternal health care in Kenya and call on diverse actors, including policymakers, technical experts and communities, to stand up for safe motherhood. GHS also organized a high-level workshop that convened government officials from nine counties in the northern and north-eastern regions of Kenya to form a Sector Forum for Health that will drive regional collaboration and create political urgency around improving maternal and perinatal health outcomes.
A range of credible and high-profile voices – including Kenya’s First Lady, pediatricians, influencers, singers, radio presenters and music producers – have spoken out about the issue of quality perinatal health care in the country. GHS is also working closely with the Ministry of Health to encourage uptake of low-cost, high-impact innovations that can transform quality of care during childbirth, such as the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist.